Summer is coming and it is time to plan for Vacation Bible School. Unfortunately, Vacation Bible School in full quarantine may be your only option. However, every state and local government is handling Covid-19 differently. You may be in a state that has started coming out of quarantine, and you may be living into extended quarantine. The reality is, that no matter where you are right now, it will likely change over the next month.
Here at Worship Times, we know it can be a daunting task to plan for multiple future realities. Which is why we have created the following recommendations/checklist for planning Vacation Bible School this summer. The great news is that these considerations can be applied to any major summer programming, not just VBS.
Regardless, the best plan moving forward is to plan for all possible scenarios.
Full In-Person Vacation Bible School
IF your state and local governments have lifted social distancing and group gathering restrictions, you might be able to carry on with VBS as you normally would.
- Order VBS Resources
- Recruit, Verify, and Train Volunteers
- Have a fantastic week!
Socially Distanced In-Person Vacation Bible School
Depending on where you live, you might be allowed to gather in small groups. If this happens, you could have VBS in-person, taking certain precautions and safety measures into consideration.
If there are restrictions on the number of people who can gather safely in a space, you will want to consider taking turns. Separate your youth into groups who come at different times or on different days. Taking turns could be used in combination with a virtual platform so that the length of your program is not extended.
It will be extremely important to disinfect all surfaces before and after each session. Complying with all CDC recommendations for cleaning is a must.
With all of the fun activities, songs, energizers, and skits that come along with VBS, remember that a big part of the fun is sharing with others. Create a space on your website to share pictures and videos of what is being learned at home with others.
Fully Virtual Vacation Bible School
No one wants this to happen, but it might. A few of the unknowns floating around are how Covid-19 reacts to warmer weather or if there will be a second wave or resurgence. One could take us out of quarantine more quickly, the other will keep us isolated longer.
If VBS does happen virtually, the first thing you will want to think about is the curriculum you’ve chosen. Many publishers are allowing for digital transmission of files and teaching resources due to Covid-19. Check with your publisher to see what you are allowed to share and how, over the internet. This impacts what technology platforms you choose to use for your program.
Hopefully your church has already set up to live-stream worship service and this technology can be applied to your VBS program. If you haven’t yet taken that step, check out our In-Depth Look at Live-Streaming for the in’s and out’s of the major live-stream platforms to choose the best option for your church.
You may also need to set up a private page for your website that is only accessible to those who have registered for VBS. This page can host your live-stream and any downloads needed for the day’s program.
Program Guides and Resources
Posting resources on your website or sending them over email are two great ways to get the information out digitally. However, before you elect to use digital transmission as the only option for resources, consider the homes that will be using these resources.
It’s important to remember that not every home has a printer, let alone a color printer. Not every home has pipe cleaners and popsicle sticks or even school glue.
Take a look at the items necessary to complete the activities in your VBS curriculum. It might make sense to create kits for the program that are sent out to participants. Or, at least creating that option for people. Also, be sure to have black and white printing options for all program PDFs.
No Vacation Bible School
I know, I know. You do not want to consider cancelling VBS this summer. VBS is a part of your church DNA. But, it is important to ask yourself, or your church committee, WHY you plan to do VBS in 2020. APCE (the Association of Presbyterian Church Educators) has created a worksheet to help your church decide if VBS in 2020 is actually the right decision.
APCE is also hosting a webinar on Friday, May 8 at 4 pm eastern to help your church decide what to do about VBS this summer.
Communication is Key
Remember to communicate! Let your congregants know you have a plan, and contingency plans for all possible scenarios.
- Make it easy to sign up for VBS, no matter how it happens.
- Write clear directions for any new programs or technology necessary to participate.
- Support your church community in whatever way they need this summer.
Worship Times is a full-service digital marketing team that specializes in helping churches of all sizes and denominations. Wherever you are, we want you to reach your people and continue your ministry. If you are looking for a new solution for your summer programming, we are here to help.
In fact, our founder, Michael Gyura, is so committed to your ministry, that he has opened up time on his calendar to help your ministry at this time. This is open to anyone, whether or not you are on the Worship Times network. Schedule your free 30 minute website consultation with Michael to talk about how to use your website for VBS or answer any questions.